Against the publicization of the self 

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With this article, Inside Maddie’s Mind comes to a close for the fall 2022 semester, and Maddie gives us a banger: a discussion on one’s private life versus their public life. Illustration by Steven Coleman/The Daily Campus

Hey Huskies, welcome back to the final peek Inside Maddie’s Mind for the fall 2022 semester. To get a little cliché for a second: It’s been a long road and I’m thankful to have taken it with y’all. We’ve taken one break, but otherwise have gone on a brief adventure into the depths of my mind and current thoughts together each Wednesday. Crazy that that’s what the term “weekly column” implies – an installment each week. Who would’ve thought? 

Looking back on my last two-and-a-half years at The Daily Campus, I’m just under 60 articles total. Compared to some of my counterparts, those are rookie numbers. Despite that, with just about five semesters of writing under my belt, it’s certainly been a journey. Again, I’m thankful to have this and to be coming back next semester. At the same time, I’m thankful for the upcoming break away from the keyboard – this duality can exist.  

Speaking on dualities, there’s another one I’ve been thinking about this week that I want to talk about as my final column installment of the semester. Let’s take it back to the basics – what I know I’m good at and what puts all my columns squarely on the fine line of sounding like exactly the same content versus having a defined voice: something a little meta, a little pop culture, something a boomer might call a snowflake take – you know, my niche.  

Alright, I’ve stalled enough and made plenty of sarcastic digs at my own writing.  

I’ve been thinking about the difference between one’s private life versus their public life. At this point in my life – that is, my junior year of college, having grown up in an era of oversharing on the internet – I’m leaning more towards the side of privacy.  

It’s no secret we live in a social media-obsessed world. We like to share about our lives! And at its core, this is fine. I truly see nothing wrong with the inherent urge to let your loved ones know what you’re up to if it’s coming from a genuine place – though we can debate at another time if social media is genuine at all. However, it’s also important to remember that not everyone needs to be 100% in tune with every single daily happening of your life. You can keep things for you and it’ll be better. I’m not arguing for keeping secrets, but rather not broadcasting every thought that runs through your head or every small interaction you have.  

Now at this point, I’m starting to sound a little hypocritical and I’ve got to acknowledge the elephant in the room. I was just talking about how I have run a column for more than a year now about what’s going on in my head any given week. There’s a significant distinction here. Yes, I choose to share some of my life in a column – arguably aspects of my life that no one asked about. Make as many “Who Cares!” jokes as you can think of, believe me, I’m well aware no one asked. 

This might make it seem like I’m not a very private person. However, I deliberately choose what to share and that is the key. Consent.  

I’m extremely aware of what I post on social media, what I put into these columns, what I talk about at my job and what I bring into the office. There is nothing wrong with keeping something just for yourself. A private life is nice to have.  

As always, we can refer to Taylor Swift when looking for guidance. (C’mon, I couldn’t end the semester without at least one Swiftie reference. I’ve got big shoes to fill from Anika – who has since graduated, but will always be my editor – and her column “Speak Now.”)  

On Swift’s “Red” album, her song “The Lucky One” tells the story of the false narrative of fame, lamenting that the superstar lifestyle is really not all it’s cracked up to be. This is not a novel take, but it speaks significantly about a lack of privacy that I think is applicable here. Whether it’s as explicit as “your name going up in lights” as Swift sings about, or just your private life overflowing into your public one, there is a sacrifice of peace when you let the entire world in.  

In wrapping up a semester’s worth of thoughts, my biggest takeaway – from a column built out of takes, whether they be red hot or merely lukewarm – would be to be intentional about what you publicize. You don’t owe everyone you meet your life story. Whether it be broadcasted in a social media post or just in daily conversations, there are some things worth keeping to yourself. Treasure a separation between what you share and what you don’t. As with anything, be intentional about it.  

With that, thanks again for a lovely semester, Huskies. Catch ya on the flippity flip.  

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